Tag Archives: Setting and reaching goals

You’ve set a goal, now how do you actually reach it?

photo credit: Nothing but dreams via photopin (license)

What’s that saying about reaching for the stars? Something about how even if you fail at least you’ll be among them? Better to get off the ground than to never start! Here’s how you make your dream a reality!  photo credit: Nothing but dreams via photopin (license)

Everyone has at least one big life goal in the back of their mind – whether it’s to lose weight, get more fit, run a marathon, reach a certain peak in their career etc. At first, there’s a fire and excitement and passion when thinking of that goal! We can’t wait until we reach it! We envision what it will feel like, look like and how different our life might be if it happened. How free, accomplished and proud would you be?

Then we come out of our daydream and start thinking about how long it will take to reach that goal and we become overwhelmed and disappointed. We don’t take action on the goal and 6 months from now we’ll be fantasizing about reaching that goal all over again. I’m sure some of you have already given up on a goal you set on New Years, right?? It happens to everyone at some point!

So how do you actually make it happen? How do you actually take that dream in your head and bring it to life?

Here’s the short answer: With specifics.

Here’s a graphic of the steps if you’re short on time – read on for more details!

Can you take these actions? I bet you can!

Can you take these actions? I bet you can!

Sit down with a pen and paper and get brainstorming! Create a list of all the things you can think of that it will actually take to reach that goal. What concrete steps will you need to take to make the dream a reality? To get from A to Z, what will you have to do?

Break the goal down into the smallest steps you can think of. If your goal is to run a marathon but you are mostly sedentary at the moment, one of your smaller steps is to begin exercising.

But what do you need to do to make that happen? Do you have a gym membership? Do you have a pair of good sneakers? Can you workout at home? When will you workout? Do you have clothes that are comfortable for exercise? What actions will you need to have taken before you can take on the more challenging aspects of marathon training?

Once you know what steps you need to take, try to organize them into a rational order.  In the above example of starting to exercise so that you can eventually run a marathon, the first steps may look something like this:
#1 Go shopping for sneakers and workout clothing.
#2 Purchase sneakers and workout clothing.
#3 Make an appointment with my doctor to get the ok to exercise.
#4 Decide what days and times I have available to exercise.
#5 Decide what kind of activity to start with.
#6 etc.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Often when we take on a new challenge, we aren’t totally sure of all the steps required until we start working on it. There are lots of things that we won’t know to list until we begin – know that it’s ok to edit your list multiple times if needed! It’s ok to revise and rethink your plan of attack several times! What matters more is that you are actually taking the actions on your list.

Once you have your list of steps – those concrete actions that make up all the steps needed to reach the goal you have in mind, you want to plan out and schedule them in a calendar!

No really. I’m not kidding. Don’t fight doing this step. It’s crucial.

I know those of you who are creative types or have ADD are sitting here going “I work better when I see where my focus is each day.” Uh-huh. Yeah. I’ve said and done that myself. How has that been working for you? Are you actually making progress on them with this plan of attack? If you are, great – you’re an anomaly – continue on! But most of us, myself included, just spin in circles when we go that route. It’s a form of procrastination that comes up out of fear! Don’t fall for it!

I find it helpful to look at how long you think it could reasonably take to accomplish the goal and break it down into 3 or 4 month increments. How many of the steps can you accomplish in 3 months time? If your goal is something that will take a year to accomplish, you would need to take action on 1/4 of the steps in your total list to be on track to complete the goal in one year’s time. (One year is just an example – depending on your goal, you may be looking at multiple years or only a few months) After those 3 or 4 months are up, check in – how are you doing? Are you on track? Great! Schedule out the next 3 or 4 months worth of action steps. If you’re not on track, assess what needs to change to get you there. Do you need to extend out your goal time line? Are certain steps taking longer than you planned? That’s ok – that’s reality! Maybe you’ve discovered that tasks you thought you could get done in 2 hours actually take you 5. Now that you know that you’ll have a more realistic schedule for the next few months. Once you know where you need to change things, get to work at scheduling those tasks!

Is it freaking you out to think 3 or 4 months out in the future? Ok. What steps can you take this week and next week? Start there and once you accomplish those you’ll build confidence that will help you be bolder in the weeks following.

Use any calendar you want for this task! I like using my google calendar because it updates on all the devices I use but you can use anything that you will be consistent using!  A paper calendar or a day planner like the Passion Planner or Leonie Dawson’s Workbooks are great options too (and can even help you get clearer about what you really want).

Next honor yourself by actually taking the actions you have planned and scheduled out. Showing up is the hardest part sometimes! Even if you get so far as to put all your steps in your calendar, a lot of us will get up each day and choose to ignore that calendar. Make a commitment to look at it each evening – so that you already have an idea of what you need to take care of tomorrow. I know you make time to be prepared for work meetings, doctor appointments and all of your children’s activities. These are all in your calendar and you make sure that they happen. You wouldn’t dream of blowing them off! Do the same for the action steps for your goals. Treat them as you would anything else that is important to you! They are not negotiable.

Don’t put something in your calendar that you have no intentions of doing. And if you have no intention of taking that step, please ask yourself why? What is holding you back?

That’s it. That’s how you make a goal a reality. 

There’s no magic to reaching goals other than having a clearly laid out path of action and then committing to yourself to take it.

And here’s something to remember if you still feel like it’s too much work to tackle that goal – know that that time is going to pass no matter what. So you’ll either reach that point in time having achieved what you wanted or you’ll reach that same point in time wishing you had started back when you first started thinking about it. Why not start right now?

You may be thinking “but my goal is more complicated than that! I can’t plan actions towards it!” But that’s very unlikely. The majority of goals can be broken down into small actions that added up over time equal the end result. If you’ve ever lost weight or got a job, any job, how did it happen? I’m guessing you went on a diet, started an exercise program, counted calories or something similar when you lost weight. And how long did you do it for? And how strictly? You took repetitive steps that resulted in weight loss. Same with getting a job, even if we’re talking a job at the mall food court in high school – at the bare minimum you walked into a business and filled out an application, probably received and answered a phone call and showed up on your first day of work.  Those are all actions, as basic as they may seem. Bigger goals, just mean MORE actions.

Sometimes the hard part is seeing the steps to your goal clearly – it’s tough to get started at all if you don’t know where to begin! If you need help translating this formula to a goal in your life, let’s set up a time to chat!  I can help you determine if your goal is reachable and how you can get there.

To Get What We Want, We Have to Give Up Something

Everything you want has a price. Becoming a runner might mean getting up earlier (trading sleep). Is it worth it?

Everything you want has a price. Becoming a runner might mean getting up earlier (trading sleep). Is it worth it?

You have a dream. You want to earn $1,000,000. You want 4 kids. You want a prestigious job. You want the Master’s degree. You want your wedding to be Pinterest perfect. You want to lose 30 lbs. You want rock hard abs. You want to stop binge eating or dieting or talking crap about yourself.

No matter what you want, in order to get it, you’re going to have to give up something.

There’s always a tradeoff.

Unless someone literally drops 4 kids off on your doorstep or hands you the master’s degree. And even then, I’d argue that getting those things would change your life in a way that something would be pushed to the wayside. If you suddenly had 4 kids overnight, you’d have less free time and certainly less money. Having the Master’s Degree in hand might get you the job you’re after but how long will you be able to keep that job if you didn’t actually earn the degree? Your lack of skills in that area will show eventually.

If you want something, you have to work for it. And if you’re like most people, your current life doesn’t have much room for making that goal happen. We’re all busy, full of excuses and tired. It’s easy to say, I can’t do X because I don’t have Y. But some people do make it happen – even though they’re busy and tired and make excuses of their own sometimes.

If you want rock hard abs or to lose 30 lbs, you’re going to have to make the time to exercise and eat properly. The time won’t just appear. You’ll have to swap out something else you are doing (TV watching, Facebook browsing, social time, laundry etc) in order to fit in the stuff that will help you get there. Is it worth it?

If you want to prestigious job, you might have to work extra hours, attend events that bore you to tears, take extra classes and kiss ass. You might get the job but the trade off is time with your friends, family and time for yourself. Is it worth it?

If you want that Pinterest perfect wedding, you may need to hire a wedding planner if you’re not crafty – which means you may have to take on an extra job to pay for it. If you are crafty, you’re going to have to find the time and energy to plan, shop and prepare all your fancy shit. The trade off will be time and money. You may not have enough of either as it is. Is it worth it?

If you want to stop dieting, binge eating or beating yourself up emotionally, you’re going to have to stop indulging in old behaviors. You’ll have to actively work towards changing. It takes practice and awareness and time and trial and error. To get there, you’re going to have to give up eating for comfort, stuffing down your feelings and believing that you are broken. The trade off is giving up all the things that keep you where you are. Is it worth it?

I know right now you’re saying “Of course it is!”. Of course, what you want is worth it. I’m not questioning that validity of your desire. I am questioning whether you know that you’ll likely have to give up something to get to where you want to go. In most cases we can’t have both. We can’t stay where we are and also go somewhere different. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t lose weight and binge eat. You can’t outrun a shitty diet. It’s always a tradeoff and yes it is usually worth it – but you have to decide if you can commit to the sacrifices that your goal will require. And be consistent about it.

You’ll never have the body you want if you fueling it primarily with foods that don’t nourish or satisfy. Are you willing to trade it in for good nutrition?

You’ll never have the relationship with your body that you’d like to have if you keep thinking about yourself in negative and hurtful way. Are you willing trade it in for kindness?

Think about what you really want and then list all the things you’ll have to do to make that a reality.

What do you want in your heart of hearts?

What are you willing to give up to have it?

What are you not willing to give up?

Where can you make room in your life for this goal?

Now, I’d like to know, what are you working on? Is there a goal you’ve been working on but not making progress on? Could it be that there is a trade off that you haven’t allowed for? Share in the comments or if you want to look into where you’re getting stuck, contact me soon to do a Discovery Session.

Get your copy!

Get your copy!

What Do You Want Your Life to Look Like One Year from Now?

When you plant asparagus you have to wait a couple of years for it to mature before it can be harvested.  Think it's worth waiting for?

When you plant asparagus you have to wait a couple of years for it to mature before it can be harvested. Think it’s worth waiting for?

It’s the eve of a New Year and for many of us that brings up a lot of introspective thoughts.  We think about what we could have done differently, what we should have done differently, we make up resolutions and hope to stick to them.  We enter the new year honestly planning to do better.  However, for most of us, a year passes and we still haven’t quit smoking, we still never made it to the gym we joined and we’re still in debt up to our ears.  Often, the great deterrent to being successful with these resolutions is that they are long term goals that we are thinking of like short-sighted ones.  Long term goals take time to accomplish – often a year or more – but we want what we want NOW.

The thought of waiting a whole year to accomplish something or to see changes can feel overwhelming.  It can feel like it isn’t worth it.  It can make you feel like it’s futile to even try.  A whole year?? Eek! I want results, I want change, I want what I want NOW.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I decided to not do something because the amount of time it would take to do it sapped my motivation.  After college, I avoided going to grad school because the thought of being in school for another year or two was more daunting than going out into the real world with no plan or clue about what I was going to do career-wise.  It just seemed like so LONG to get what I wanted (though it turns out I didn’t want it that much to begin with).  Even losing weight used to feel so daunting. When I topped out at 225 when I was in college, I was so overwhelmed by how much I had to lose to be a healthy weight (I’m not very tall) that for a long while, I just didn’t do anything about it.  If I ignore it, it doesn’t exist, right? It’s not a problem if I choose to do nothing about it??  Since I couldn’t drop 50 – 75 lbs in a week it just wasn’t worth doing.

I am queen of instant gratification. If I can’t benefit from something instantly, it’s easy for me to not be that enthralled by it.  I’m slowly learning that some of the best stuff comes from being patient and allowing things to unfold as they’re supposed to.  Not everything is as simple as flipping the switch and having a light turn on. Often the journey of getting to where you want to be is as satisfying as the end result itself.  No, really!

The Health Coaching program I did at IIN took a year.  When I finally enrolled, I thought it was going to be forever before I would graduate.  Nope! Went by way faster than I could have ever imagined.  In a few weeks my business will be a whole year old.  Not sure how that’s possible because I swear it feels like I just started! In my personal life, I’ve lost 40.5 inches (thanks to Barre classes) and I’ve lost 20 lbs in 2014 (40 lbs total since 5/13 but 20 of it was since 1/14).

The point of all this is that you can accomplish a lot in one year’s time and it will go by a lot faster than you think it will.  What do you want to accomplish this year? How do you want to feel when 2015 ends?

Do you put off losing weight because you are overwhelmed by how long it will take?
Do you get frustrated when you can’t change your habits overnight?
Do you want to be fit right now?
Do you run away or ignore things when you can’t fix it immediately?

I know way too well how shitty it feels when nothing in your closet fits (especially after the holidays!) and how badly you wish you were smaller, fitter, firmer etc (you name it).  Here’s the thing:  There’s no magic fix that will fix it instantly.  If there was we’d ALL know about it.  It wouldn’t be a secret.  I also know how sickening being over your head in debt feels and I know the pain of spending your days doing something that drains you instead of fulfills you. I get it, I really do.

If you really do want to change your life, if you want to feel better in your body and more confident when you look in the mirror, you have to put the work in and it WILL take time.  Same goes with heading down a new career path, getting out of debt or any other big dream or goal you have. You’ve got to put in the time.

The good news though is that it takes just a few days of eating well and exercising to feel a difference, just a few weeks to see a change in the scale or in how our clothes fit and just a few months for others to notice the changes you’ve made!  And all the while, whether you’ve been working at taking better care of yourself for 5 days or 50 weeks, you will feel good about the choices you are making, which will help you continue to make good choices – which is what it takes to reach your goals. Before you know it, you’ve committed to a cleaner diet and more exercise and a whole year or two has passed!

We can’t get time back.  So why not start right now?  Today? With your next meal?

Just as quickly as a year can go by when making positive changes, a year can go by when remaining stagnant.  We don’t want 5 years to pass and wish we had made better choices all that time.  You don’t want to wish you started an exercise program or your started to save money sooner.

Eating better, exercising and making time for self-care is important because it’s a way to reach our goals, but it’s also how we increase our chances of living a healthy life.  Sedentary, junk food filled lives often translate to a shorter lifespan or reduced quality of life in our later years. Who wants that?  It’s about so much more than looking good – it’s about feeling strong and healthy so that we can enjoy our entire lives (not just the parts that happen while we’re young).

I know it’s difficult.  I never want you to feel like I’m saying it’s easy to do these things – I know how overwhelming of a task changing our lives is.  But I want you to know that it can be done and I’m here to support you if you would like help (a coach can help you implement changes seamlessly into your life, as well as provide accountability and support along the way – doesn’t matter if it’s diet related or in another area, career, relationships etc.).

What do you want to have accomplished one year from now? How will you get there?  Can you start working towards it right NOW? What sort of support is helpful for you? Please share in the comments and we can support each other!

And Happy Happy Happy New Year!